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Is Dollar General (DG) a Great Stock for Value Investors?

Zacks

Value investing is easily one of the most popular ways to find great stocks in any market environment. After all, who wouldn’t want to find stocks that are either flying under the radar and are compelling buys, or offer up tantalizing discounts when compared to fair value?

One way to find these companies is by looking at several key metrics and financial ratios, many of which are crucial in the value stock selection process. Let’s put Dollar General Corporation DG stock into this equation and find out if it is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now, or if investors subscribing to this methodology should look elsewhere for top picks:

PE Ratio

A key metric that value investors always look at is the Price to Earnings Ratio, or PE for short. This shows us how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of earnings in a given stock, and is easily one of the most popular financial ratios in the world. The best use of the PE ratio is to compare the stock’s current PE ratio with: a) where this ratio has been in the past; b) how it compares to the average for the industry/sector; and c) how it compares to the market as a whole.

On this front, Dollar General has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 16.75, as you can see in the chart below:



This level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 20.29. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Dollar General’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years. Moreover, the current level is fairly below the highs for this stock, suggesting it might be a good entry point.



Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks classified Retail-Wholesale: Retail – Discount Stores industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 24.49. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.



However, we should point out that Dollar General has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 16.80, so on the ground of the forward earnings estimates, we might say that the company’s share price is likely to appreciate slightly in the near future.

P/S Ratio

Another key metric to note is the Price/Sales ratio. This approach compares a given stock’s price to its total sales, where a lower reading is generally considered better. Some people like this metric more than other value-focused ones because it looks at sales, something that is far harder to manipulate with accounting tricks than earnings.

Right now, Dollar General has a P/S ratio of about 0.93. This is significantly lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.14 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is well below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.



If anything, DG is in the lower end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.

Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, Dollar General currently has a Zacks Value Style Score of ‘B’, putting it into the top 40% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Dollar General a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.

For example, the PEG ratio for Dollar General is 1.58, a level that is slightly lower than the industry average of 1.72. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate. Clearly, DG is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Dollar General might be a good choice for value investors, there are plenty of other factors to consider before investing in this name. In particular, it is worth noting that the company has a Growth grade of ‘A’ and a Momentum score of ‘B’. This gives DG a Zacks VGM score—or its overarching fundamental grade—of ‘A’. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)

Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been mixed at best. The current fiscal quarter has seen two estimates go higher in the past sixty days compared to four lower, while the fiscal full year estimate has seen six upward and zero downward revisions in the same time period.

As a result, the current fiscal quarter consensus estimate has fallen by nearly 1% in the past two months, while the fiscal full year estimate has inched up by 0.7%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Dollar General Corporation Price and Consensus

Dollar General Corporation Price and Consensus | Dollar General Corporation Quote


Despite this somewhat mixed trend, the stock has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) on the back of its strong value metrics and this is why we are expecting above-average performance from the company in the near-term.

Bottom Line

Dollar General is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Boasting a good industry rank (among the top 37%) and a strong Zacks Rank, Dollar General looks like a strong value contender. In fact, over the past three years, the Zacks Retail – Discount Stores industry has clearly outperformed the broader market, as you can see below:



However, given the mixed trend in earnings estimate revisions, value investors might want to wait for estimates and analyst sentiment to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick.

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